Outrage is mounting after a man fatally shot a 13-year-old black high school student whom he suspected of breaking into a Washington, DC neighborhood.
Karon Blake of Northeast Washington was killed Saturday, metropolitan police saying.
Police found the teen with apparent gunshot wounds while responding to a report of a shooting just before 4 a.m. Saturday in the 1000 block of Northeast Quincy Street. Karon was taken to a hospital and died after several attempts to save his life, authorities said.
Detectives determined that a man at a nearby residence said he had «heard noises and observed someone who appeared to be handling vehicles.»
The man came out with a registered firearm to investigate and had an «interaction» with Karon.
“During the interaction, the male resident discharged his firearm and struck the victim,” police said.
The man who opened fire has not been identified or arrested.
He is an adult male, he is black and has retained an attorney, Police Chief Robert J. Contee III said Tuesday.
Detectives are gathering the facts and will present the case to the US Attorney’s Office for possible charges, he said.
“A grand jury will determine whether a crime occurred based on the facts, and not mere speculation,” Contee said.
Authorities said «two young males» were seen fleeing the scene and at least two cars were damaged on the block of the shooting. NBC Washington informed. Police later said they found a stolen car, which they believe Karon had used, near the scene.
Neighbors said they heard four to five shots during the incident, the news station reported.
Contee strongly criticized what he said was misinformation and speculation about the case, calling it tragic. There are pictures on social media showing people with no connection to the case, he said.
“People make assumptions and look for people who aren’t involved. People are making accusations focused on race, and that’s wrong,» Contee said.
The man who shot Karon called police after the incident, Contee said. When officers arrived, he was performing CPR and gave them an account of what happened, Contee said.
karon he was a ‘quiet and inquisitive scholar’
Karon was a student at Brookland High School.
The school’s principal, Kerry Richardson, said in a memo obtained by NBC Washingtonhe called the teenager a «quiet and inquisitive scholar who loved fashion and football».
«While she loved her neighborhood, she loved Brookland MS (the faculty and her peers) and the structure it presented to her even more,» Richardson wrote in the note to school staff.
He is survived by his mother and three younger brothers, according to the director.
In a letter to families in the Brookland Middle School community, Richardson wrote: “It is with great sadness that I share that a Brookland student tragically lost his life to gun violence in the early morning of January 7th. Let’s come together to send love and support. to his family as they mourn this devastating loss. As a member of the Brookland family, we know our student will be missed by all who know them.»
The school offers mental health and counseling resources to support students and staff.
‘Property is not larger than life’
In the days after the shooting, pressure for answers mounted, with local lawmakers condemning the shooting and demanding that the name of the person who opened fire be made public.
“Property is not larger than life. Karon should be alive today,» DC Council Member Christina Henderson tweeted Monday.
Zachary Parker, a member of the District 5 Council, said in a declaration Monday: “He was a son, brother, friend and student who should still be here. I am deeply saddened and outraged by Karon’s murder.»
“No car or material possession is worth a life, under any circumstances. I join the residents of District 5 in calling on the Metropolitan Police Department and US Attorney’s Office to hold the individual who took Karon’s life to account,” he continued.
Residents at a community meeting Tuesday questioned why the shooter hadn’t been arrested, or at least identified. Some said it was insulting that the shooter’s name had not been made public.
A woman who identified herself as Karon’s aunt called for justice. “We want justice, she is 13 years old, she was a baby,” she said at the meeting.
Deputy Police Chief Morgan Kane said police are working with the US Attorney’s Office and have seized the weapon used.
If police go before a judge before she is ready, it could jeopardize the case, and investigators know they need more evidence, such as video, she said.
“The last thing we want to do is sacrifice a result that all of you are looking for,” Kane said.
Community groups DC Safety Squad, Ward 5 Mutual Aid and Harriet’s Wildest Dreams also demanded disclosure of the shooter’s name and any visual evidence.
in a declaration, The DC security squad said: “Karon Blake was senselessly murdered. … We call on Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Lindsey Appiah to immediately release the name of Karon’s killer and any photo or video evidence collected.»
In a statement, Appiah said: «As a government, we are committed to being as open and transparent as possible in all matters, while also ensuring that we act in a manner that promotes the fair and equitable administration of justice.»
Mayor Muriel Bowser said monday she was «incredibly saddened».
“We would rather be talking about a 13-year-old boy going to school today than talking about him being killed on one of our streets,” he said.
«If you think there is a public safety issue in or around your home, call 911. That’s what you should do, call 911,» he added.
In the first week of the new year, six people were killed in DC, including Karon, according to the Metropolitan Police Department Crime Dashboard.